The Kansas City Chiefs suffered a tough 24-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 14, in a game filled with controversy surrounding a pivotal penalty call against Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney. The game had major playoff implications in the AFC, and tensions ran high on both sides.
Mahomes and Reid Vent Frustrations with Officials
A turning point occurred late in the 4th quarter with under two minutes remaining, when it appeared the Chiefs had scored a go-ahead touchdown on a trick play involving Toney. However, Toney was flagged for being offside, nullifying the touchdown .
Replays showed Toney may have timed the snap perfectly and was not clearly offside . The controversial call drew the ire of Chiefs players and coaches:
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a heated exchange with referees and had to be pulled back by teammates . Mahomes believed Toney timed the play properly and said after the game, “It’s getting ridiculous how ticky-tack that stuff has been.” 
Head coach Andy Reid also confronted officials and was seen yelling that Toney did not move early on the play .
Toney himself called the penalty “bogus” on social media and accused referees of lying about verbally warning him for lining up offside prior to the play .
The disbelief over the crucial call being upheld without clear evidence appeared to cost the Chiefs a chance at victory.
Fines Handed Down for Criticizing Officials
The day after the game, reports emerged that Mahomes and Reid were both fined by the NFL for their criticism of the officiating crew:
- Reid was fined $100,000 for his verbal confrontation on the sideline .
- Mahomes was fined $50,000 for his visible demonstration of disgust toward referees .
The league has rules prohibiting coaches and players from excessively criticizing officiating. Fines are common when the league feels those in violation crossed a line in doing so.
Neither Reid nor Mahomes had been fined previously in their careers for criticizing refs, indicating how egregious the league felt their reactions were in this case .
Lingering Effects Expected on Chiefs’ Playoff Push
The loss dropped the Chiefs to 11-3 on the season, tied with Buffalo for the best record in the AFC. However, the Bills now own the tiebreaker, which could decide home field advantage if the teams meet again in the playoffs.
Kansas City had won 5 straight games prior to the disappointing loss. Despite confusion over the pivotal penalty, Mahomes put blame on himself and the offense for not executing when it mattered most .
Still, the calls against Kansas City led Bills quarterback Josh Allen to reach out to Mahomes privately to apologize for how things ended . Mahomes was said to have assured Allen no apology was needed.
While Mahomes vowed to move on, frustrations may still linger for the Chiefs, who face a tough matchup against the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17 with playoff positioning still up for grabs . Kansas City will likely need to win out and get help to earn the AFC’s lone first-round bye.
If unable to secure a bye, the Chiefs seem destined to face Buffalo again in the playoffs, raising the stakes of the contentious finish in their last meeting. Kansas City will have to refocus quickly with plenty left to play for down the stretch.
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